Electronics and Signal Processing for Experimental Rigs





Course Director: John Assad

Course Instructors: Ofer Mazor, Pavel Gorelik


Course description:

Biomedical researchers often use, or even building, experimental rigs consisting of several interconnected electronic instruments. These rigs are typically used to make high-quality recordings of weak biological signals. The goal of this course is to demystify the rig: What does each instrument do? How should they be connected? How does one troubleshoot noise, or adjust settings in a principled way?

The course will focus on several fundamental concepts in electronics and signal processing, covering both theory and practice. Topics will include: signal impedance, capacitance, amplifiers and opAmp circuits, mitigating noise, digitization, sampling rates, and aliasing. These topics should be broadly applicable to experimental biologists who use a rig to generate or record small, precise signals in the presence of noise. We will rely on hands-on assignments to reinforce the lecture content and build intuitive understanding.

The course will meet for three Zoom lectures, and participants will be assigned a self-paced electronics assignment after each lecture. (Participants will be provided with a kit of parts for these assignments.)

After completing this nanocourse, students should feel more confident using the instruments on their rig, and have a better sense for how signals flow between them. They should feel comfortable selecting appropriate settings for filters, amplification, and digitization (e.g., sampling rates) in order to minimize noise and maximize signal quality.


Enrollment is limited to 10 participants. No auditing.

Spring 2021 class schedule:

This remote nanocourse consists of three lessons spaced one week apart. Each lesson includes an hour-long Zoom lecture and an introduction to that week’s engineering assignment. Lecture dates and times are:

Thu. March 11 (3–4:30pm ET):  Basic Electronics

Thu. March 18 (3–4:30pm ET):  Noise and OpAmps

Thu. March 25 (3–4:30pm ET):  Digitization and Aliasing


Students will be provided with parts and guidance to work on their assignments in the days following each class. Expect to spend 60 minutes on each weekly assignment. You will need access to a computer to complete the assignments.

Register for the class here.